LST 207 Endurance-class LST
Endurance. Resolution. Persistence. Endeavour. These are some of the characteristics of a strong and effective armed forces. These are also the names of the four Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs) of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs) are often described as the workhorses of the Singapore Armed Forces as they are transport ships capable of carrying tanks, helicopters as well as troops and their equipment to overseas training areas. The LSTs are also used by the Republic Singapore Navy (RSN) for training cruises and for peacetime rescue and relief efforts.
On the basis of displacement, ST Marine's Endurance 140 design can carry more landing craft than any other LST/LPD design available today. The mothership can land a battalion-size team in one wave using its onboard FCUs and Fast Craft Equipment Personnel (FCEP) landing craft. The Endurance 140 cannot operate hovercraft as the well dock is not heat-shielded from jet blasts. The Singaporean Navy's experience off Sumatra showed that the Endurance-class ships are more versatile than former East German Navy Frosch-class LSTs operated by the Indonesian Navy. The Frosch-class LSTs were designed to discharge vehicles, personnel and deck cargo by direct beach assault in the Baltic area and European coastlines and do not carry their own landing craft.
In addition to small craft, the Endurance LSTs are the RSN's first ships that can embark a CH-47D Chinook on its flight deck. The ship can operate two Super Puma-type helos simultaneously, or one Chinook. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has been deployed as part of a multinational task force for counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. These missions were spearheaded by Endurance-class warships, equipped with two Super Puma/Cougar type choppers as part of its air element.
LST 207 Endurance-class LST Program
The new LSTs, like the RSN's Fearless-class patrol vessels, are designed and constructed by Singapore Technologies Marine for the Singapore Navy.
Landing ship tanks were born during World War II, where the Allies needed ships that could transport men and equipment over long distances and land them on enemy shores in the absence of dock facilities. Thousands of landing ship tanks were built during the war in the shipyards of USA, Britain and Canada. Five of these County-class ships ended up in the service of the RSN in the 1970s, where they served the roles of transporting men and equipment and being a training platform for naval personnel, especially midshipmen. After two decades of distinguished service, it was time to replace them with ships that would serve the operational needs of the RSN in the new millennium.
The 6,000-ton Endurance-class LSTs were earmarked to replace the RSN's ageing 511-1152 class (ex-US Navy County-class) LSTs, which had become too expensive to operate and maintain. The Republic of Singapore (RSS) Navy's intention to purchase the LSTs was revealed by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minster Dr. Tony Tan during his visit to the Tuas Naval Base on 3 August 3 1996. These ships were to replace the five former US County Class LSTs which were acquired by Singapore from the United States in the 1970s. A local company, Singapore Technologies and Engineering (Singapore Technologies Marine) clinched the government contract to design and build four LSTs.
Construction of the Endurance began in early 1997, with the keel laid down at Singapore Technologies Marine's Banoi yard on 27 March. Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Tony Tan officiated at the launch of the first vessel, christened RSS Endurance, on 14 March 1998. The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) launched its third newly-designed Endurance-class landing ship tank (LST) in 1999. RSS Persistence joined the first two LSTs - RSS Endurance and RSS Resolution - that were launched in 1998. On March 18 2000, RSS Endurance and RSS Resolution became the first two Endurance-class LSTs to be introduced to the RSN. The commisioning ceremony was held at Tuas Naval Base, with Dr Tony Tan, then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, as the guest of honour. A total of four ships were scheduled to be completed by the year 2001. To date, they are largest class of naval vessels locally constructed.
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